Bob Hogg, commercial director of the company, which is based in Perth, Scotland, told FoodManufacture.co.uk he hoped the contract with Russian distributor Elizabet would boost sales by more than £100,000 in the first year alone.
But this was just the beginning, he said. "We have started initial negotiations with China, have tried a bit of work with Brazil and Mexico and we are very close to a distribution deal in Korea.”
The contract with Elizabet enables The Inveralmond Brewery to supply its Lai Fail, Ossian, Thrappledowser and Blackfriars beers to Russia. Trade body Scottish Development International assisted in striking the deal.
One of fastest growing markets
The Inveralmond Brewery, which turns over more than £1.5M, claimed the Baltic market was one of the UK’s fastest growing markets, and was the third largest after Europe and North America.
“I have a big hope for medium to long term volume in Russia and we have invested significantly in kegging equipment,” said Hogg. “Exports are currently a tenth of our business and we would like to see that proportion grow …
“Craft keg beer in general for Scotland and for export is a significant opportunity – potentially the next big thing." Russia was also keen on craft bottled beers, he added. “The Russians want to over-sticker the label because they want to show the product is authentic.”
The vast majority of the firm’s sales came from Scotland, but England was ripe for growth too, he said. “We have a neighbour south of the border we can look to.”
Room for expanding
The Inveralmond Brewery had already pumped money into its Perth brewery and staff recruitment and it had room for expanding production from current facilities, said Hogg.
However, if it continued to grow at current rates, it would have to consider further expansion at its existing site or even securing additional premises in two to three years, he added. “There may be options. We could increase production at one site and keep storage at another.”
The business has made several significant announcements in recent weeks signalling growth.
It appointed former Scottish & Newcastle and Heineken executive Andy Agnew to its directorial board and former Kopparberg account manager Phil Kilpatrick to the role of business development manager. And it recently signed a UK distribution deal with alcoholic drinks distributor PLB.